Being agile and responsive in business has never been more important than it is in 2020. Customers have long expected their demands and requirements to be met quickly, and are more than happy to take their custom elsewhere if they are not.
Digital experience – especially for a younger demographic – is everything. Recent Nuxeo research indicated that 54% of shoppers would change from a favoured brand or retailer to a competitor if the overall digital experience did not meet their expectations.
But the need for agility and to meet customer requirements speedily has only been enhanced during the events of 2020. With very different market conditions brought about by the Covid-19 lockdown and gradual easing, businesses have needed to launch new services that met changing requirements and could not spend months doing so. It is in this context that ‘low code’ development has risen the business agenda, with CIOs all over the world becoming increasingly aware of how low code can help enterprises become more agile and responsive.
The content digitisation challenge
A realisation of the need to be ready for anything had dawned long before COVID-19, but lockdown really reinforced this. If an organisation’s employees, supply-chain partners and customers found it difficult to engage fluidly with content and processes beforehand, this was certainly the case once office premises closed and usual courses of action could not be taken.
Previously, companies looked at the content digitisation challenge as a means of continuous business differentiation. How could they pivot activities to respond to new opportunities and keep ahead of competitors with new and exciting propositions? During lockdown, manoeuvrability became a matter of survival. If different parties could not access the information or digital assets they needed on-demand to accomplish routine or new tasks, companies’ business continuity was directly under threat.
By contrast, those companies that were empowered by smart and flexible content access were able to progress ably under even the most extreme conditions. The most notable point of difference for the businesses that continued to thrive was that 100% of their critical processes were digital – supported by on-demand, anywhere access to whatever information or content people needed.
The rise of low code development
This has all helped accelerate the rise of low code development, especially in the context of content access, management and re-use. Low code is about giving companies the ability to create and roll out new user experiences without having to engage in long development projects, making it highly attractive for CIOs and the broader business.
The idea is to make developers more efficient, by allowing them to re-use existing components and templates to speed up application delivery, drawing on vast libraries of proven constituent software assets. Rather than doing away with the need for developers, low code allows IT teams to make smarter and more efficient use of their time and skills, accelerating the delivery of new functionality.
The realisation that this low-code development approach can be applied specifically to content-based applications is particularly exciting for organisations as we emerge from lockdown. It paves the way for companies to create new content-based services at high speed. Whereas it might have taken up to 12 months to create a new customer or supply-chain experience the traditional way, development teams with access to a low-code development platform for delivering new content-based services and experiences, can do so within just a few weeks.
Sprinting from idea to execution
This ability to sprint from idea to execution is transformational, for both innovation and development teams, and puts businesses in a very powerful position relative to their competitors. It is no coincidence that ‘Big Tech’ companies like Amazon and Google work in this way, to bring out new early versions of new products or user experiences at speed – to get them into users’ hands quickly, so that they can test out the potential in a quick, low-risk way.
Using an iterative, low-code approach to development, they are able to combine already-proven functions and features to create something new, which they can then test with customers in a live environment – giving them something to refine and build on in subsequent releases.
Crucially, shortening the gap between idea and launch gives these companies critical market advantage. Then they can go about evolving the application or service to deliver the best possible customer experience – one which they can keep tweaking and embellishing over time.
Agility is perhaps the most highly prized quality in any business in 2020, so it is not practical to try to conceive and build the perfect application right from scratch. A low-code development approach is much more viable, allowing for the unforeseeable and providing businesses with the agility to create new content-based services at high speed and to improve them on an on-going basis, according to changing market requirements.